As we start to return to work, there is a lot to think about. Lockdown has affected us all in different ways, and it is only normal to feel uncertain about what the future holds. Many people feel confused, worried and apprehensive about going back to the workplace. Companies will be considering a range of adjustments to the way work is done, to comply with government recommendations. These adjustments will depend on your job, and your individual circumstances.
Everyone’s situation is unique. However, as you approach your return to work, there are some general principles that will give you the best chance of getting back to work and staying mentally healthy over the coming months.
PLAN AND PREPARE
Think about your job and your situation.Does anything need to change to help you do your job well? If you haven’t been told what to expect, ask what provisions have been made to create a safe work environment. It can be helpful to think through what will happen on the first day back.
TALK TO YOUR COWORKERS ABOUT GOING BACK TO WORK
You might want to exchange thoughts on how you’re coping and share strategies for things like commuting, or how to keep a safe distance in the office. Whether it’s during a scheduled check in or a casual conversation, sharing these experiences can help relieve some stress while also having the chance to learn and to support others.
TAKE TIME TO ADAPT
Just as going into lockdown and the months that followed were a period of adjustment, going back to work may take some getting used to. Take it day by day, expect that straightforward tasks might take a little longer and don’t become angry with yourself or frustrated if things don’t feel ‘normal’ right away.
TAKE THINGS ONE STEP AT A TIME
The way we all work is likely to keep changing in the coming weeks so we will need to keep adjusting. Don’t expect everything to quickly return to normal. We have a long journey ahead. We may not be able to go back to our old ways of working for some time – and if we are lucky, this could give us an opportunity to do things differently, and better. Look out for yourself, look out for others and take each day and week at a time.
Everyone is finding their own path and things might not always go to plan. It is important to be kind to yourself and to be kind to others as we all find our way.